Editorial: Esprit by Opening Ceremony Collection Winter 2017

Esprit and Opening Ceremony are collaborating for the third time. The new – and for the time being, last – joint collection will be available from the 17th of November

“It has been a great experience working with Esprit. Both Esprit and Opening Ceremony naturally have a lot of shared values, we believe in diversity, inclusion, social issues and how to use your brand platform to support what is important to you. We also have a great mutual respect for each other, so when that is the foundation, the collaboration is quite natural, productive and fun,” said the two founders of Opening Ceremony. This is the third collection that Humberto Leon und Carol Lim have designed from Esprit. The designs from the past seasons already showed inspiration drawn from urban youth culture and the influence of the 80s and 90s. It was especially the logo that they were taken with – it’s now experienced a revival thanks to the fresh coat of paint they gave it.

Leon explains the inspiration for the third part of the design series as follows: “In the first two seasons of our collaboration with Esprit, we looked back to our teenage years spent in the mall. We were still strongly inspired by the iconic Esprit logo and the typical designs of the period, but at the same time we continued to develop and use current prints and new silhouettes. So you could say that with this Esprit by Opening Ceremony collection, we’re headed off to college.” The collaboration is now officially at its end, but the door will remain open for new projects between Esprit and Opening Ceremony.

The friendly and energetic tone between the two brands can possibly be traced back to the stories of how they were founded. Esprit was founded in 1968 in San Francisco by Susie Tompkins Buell and Doug Tompkins. It was a time characterized by political movements, and they wanted to capture the zeitgeist with cheerful designs and translate it into clothing. They sold their first designs from the back of their station wagon somewhere in California. Easy going. Back then, they would have never dreamed of becoming a global company with more than 6,000 sales outlets in 40 countries.

Opening Ceremony came about decades later, 2002 to be exact, with roots at California’s UC Berkeley. Humberto Leon and Carol Lim shared a passion for art and culture, fashion and design. Concept stores in New York, L.A., Tokyo, and Nagoya came about as a result, and they regularly collaborated with the most inspiring figures in the creative industries. Lim and Leon soon launched their own in-house label – a student idea turned into a business. Their creative energy flows into concepts that are always influenced by the zeitgeist, and so the collaboration with Esprit is hardly surprising, supported by the omnipresent 90s nostalgia at the moment – especially in fashion.

Logo-lovers, color enthusiasts, and fans of the 90s will therefore have a lot to discover in this collection: tracksuits in “Gen Z” yellow, in blue, or red and white, fleece sweaters and t-shirts with logo prints, cropped faux fur jackets or thick down bombers, a Clueless-esque plaid mini dress, and blouses with leopard-print collars. And accessories are also taken care of with berets, caps, and shoppers with graphic plaid and leopard prints. But the secret winner is the cheerleader scrunchy.

The collection is available from the 17th of November on Esprit’s homepage in a virtual pop-up store. It will also be available on the website of Opening Ceremony here as well as in their stores.

You can see impressions of both brands and the collaboration on Instagram here (@openingceremony) and here (@esprit) as well as under the hashtag #espritxOC.

Photography: Volker Conrads (@volker_conradus)
Styling: Madeleine Abeltshauser (@madeleine_ablc)
Model: Jennifer Gilmore for Core Management
(@jennifergilmore) / (@coreartistmanagement)
Hair/Make-up: Anne Timper (@annetimper)
Translation: Melissa Frost
Thank you Parasol Island!
– in Friendly cooperation with Esprit by Opening Ceremony –


Madeleine is a fashion journalist. For as long as she can remember she has been passionate about fashion and accessories, in particular cashmere sweaters and jewelry. After five years of working at Vogue Germany’s fashion department in Munich, she decided to encounter a new challenge and move to Berlin. Her role at hey woman! allows her to combine her passion for styling, creative directing and writing. Madeleine is also good at imitating a Swiss accent and trying to be a cook.

©Phillip Schlegel